The time and money trap that’s keeping you from changing the world.
“Western women will save the world,” the Dalai Lama once remarked and every day I see evidence of amazing women doing just that.
My personal motto is “if you want to change the world you have to #startwithU” and I’ve seen the evidence of the positive impact that just one person can have on those around them, not only in my own community but across the world.
I’ve observed that many of these inspirational women had a trigger event, a crisis, an experience that made them truly, deeply want to create a charity, give more to their community or start a movement.
And if they do begin something, it is often at a time when they had either time or money or both to do so. For some they had a change in life or career, became an empty nester, had support or backing or had achieved a level of financial success that meant they had more ability to be generous with their money.
Note: I’m not saying that only the free and wealthy can give, hardly. In my #365daysofgenerosity experiment I have seen people from all walks of life who are being generous in so many ways it’s inspiring!
And then there are so many other beautiful women that I meet who lament that they want to make a bigger impact and be of greater service, but already have enough on their plate just living and surviving. Many describe being reliant on their partner or job for their financial stability or have too many commitments and young children that understandably take a lot of time and therefore feel restricted in their freedom to choose, to create and to change the world.
They talk about a yearning to publish their ideas, teach and lead others, to start a movement or to share their thoughts with the world and make a difference.
They feel as though they have to put their dreams on hold and plan for the “someday” when they do have the money or time. Many tell me they feel stuck in a stagnant relationship or time bound by commitments or caught doing a job they don’t love due to their situation.
For over a decade, I’ve had the privilege of working with some amazing women in many different professions, to build highly successful personal brands that help them not only live a life they love but also live their legacy.
I understand. I’ve been in that situation and felt stuck too – I was in a well-paid job which essentially put on golden handcuffs and prevented me from feeling I could jump and try something else, something my heart desired.
For many of us we keep avoiding the money stuff, not really understanding investing and our options, leaving that stuff to someone else and are not focusing on doing what needs to be done to build a financial independence plan, so one day we can have the luxury of working when we want on things we are passionate about.
Perhaps you can relate too? Have found yourself at a career or life cross roads, or perhaps stuck in a rut, and have felt the only three options available to you are:
1. Get a job.
Get a job and spend 40–60 hours or so a week working in someone else’s business under their terms earning just enough to comfortably cover the bills but not enough to put away any for an investment towards your financial freedom.
2. Start a business.
In reality for many women this means buying themselves a job using skills they learnt through education or on the job in corporate. For most they find themselves working in the business wearing many hats and often working for up to 80 hours a week for little per hour pay.
3. Become an entrepreneur
Build or buy a start-up and looking for ways to grow it, and then exit and sell it in the near future for a large sum of money. It’s a very different mindset to an employee or even a small business owner and the number of women doing this while increasing slightly is still very small.
What you perhaps haven’t considered is what I believe is the fourth option and it can potentially be the most lucrative with the greatest opportunity for life work synergy and having the time to be there for your family if that’s your goal.
4. Build Brand U.
Think of it as a kind of personal PhD – by becoming an experienced sought out specialist who has a powerful personal brand you can potentially earn highly lucrative incomes and create flexibility of where you work, with whom and when.
You can then also begin a more rigorous investment strategy and start building your wealth plan and work towards your financial independence.
Think about that for a minute. Are you already thinking “I’m not good enough” to be a brand myself?” or “who would want to listen to me?” Isn’t that interesting.
The term branding has long been associated only with companies until Tom Peters famously said “We are the CEOs of our own companies: Me, Incorporated… Your most important job is to be marketing the brand called You.”
Today whether you are consciously creating your personal brand or not, your digital footprint is being sourced and observed and creating perceptions the world over. According to an AVG study, 92 per cent of children under the age of two already have a digital footprint.
The question is not if you have a personal brand, but what do you choose to do with it and are you going to cultivate and leverage it? The truth is there are all sorts of people from all kinds of backgrounds, careers and industries creating amazing personal brands that serve others in a valuable way while creating a lifestyle and legacy now.
And while it may seem there are only celebrity brands like Martha Stewart, Naomi Simson and Michelle Bridges there are many other women building amazing brands in corporate, certain industries and around certain topics that are not your typical mainstream experts. When you’re building a brand U it’s more about being professionally famous than it is about being known. A subtle but important difference.
Imagine if you could create a career for yourself that’s not reliant on a boss or business for a pay check that gives you a great sense of fulfilment, fun and in the longer term financial freedom.
“Today I’m even more passionate about helping women increase their impact, influence and income by articulating and leveraging their uniqueness.” Heidi Alexandra.
What get’s in the way of women starting their brand U journey? Typically one or more of three things:
- Don’t know what makes me unique or how to position, package and sell it!
- Flat out exhausted and in overwhelm.
- Failure to implement things that matter – doing a major in minor things.
Three possible ways to overcome these:
1. Start thinking of yourself as a brand:
What do you want people to associate with you when they hear your name? What topic or message do you want to be known for? What are the qualities or personality are authentically you? Once you’ve mastered your UQ Power – your message and gift for the world you’re on your way!
2. Grow your personal power.
Get help to develop your personal power, your self-worth, your ability to say no and stick to it. How can move from being the carer for all from selfless to filling your self worth? How can you learn more about your personal finances so you can make smarter decisions in the long term?
3. Improve your will power.
Get laser clarity and focus. Learn strategies to improve your personal productivity. Spend less than you earn. Start culling or reducing the time, money or energy you spend on things that are moving you towards where you want to go and who you want to become. Be focused, not busy.
Know which option you are choosing – is it a job, a business, entrepreneurship or becoming a brand U? This will give you more focus and clarity so you can hone your craft, get good at what you do and seek the most relevant support and advice. When you have too many plates spinning a crash is inevitable.
Lastly, why wait? If you’ve got an idea you need to share with the world, if you need help to make the difference you were born to make, then get help, get focused and get started. The world needs that special something that only U can give! #startwithU